At Home with Nature

By Gina Wisdomfor Stateline Shopping News, June 28, 2001

John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist are the owners of Inn Serendipity, an environmentally friendly, energy responsible bed and breakfast and transitional organic farm. The couple left their corporate jobs in 1997 to pursue a lifestyle that was closer and gentler to the environment.

John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist always felt the most centered and connected while camping and spending time in Wisconsin. So, in 1997 they decided to leave their Chicago advertising agency jobs to pursue a lifestyle that was easier on the environment and closer to nature.The couple purchased an old farm house in Browntown, Wisconsin and created Inn Serendipity, a bed and breakfast that is located on five acres of "transitional" organic farmland.

"We have retrofitted the farmhouse with environmentally friendly technology, like our bathroom tiles made from recycled automobile windshields and our kitchen floor made from certified sustainable harvest hardwood," noted Ivanko.

"We're a demonstration home for Real Goods," said Kivirist. "Real Goods strives to highlight energy conservation and responsible living."

In addition to B&B's environmentally friendly technology, the farm and surrounding outbuildings are a work in progress.

"We wanted to create a hands-on experience for our guests and our visitors," Kivirist said. "We're not special, we're not different, we've just chosen to make more environmentally responsible choices and we want to share those choices with people through education."

"It's our hope that people will visit the farm for a workshop or for a stay at the B&B and will be able to make more environmentally friendly choices in their own lives, because they will have learned something here," Ivanko added.

Inn Serendipity is also the home for Morning Star Garden, a project of Amy Kremen, an intern for the East Troy-based Michael Fields Agricultural Institute Cooperative Enterprise Program.

"We're so pleased to have Morning Star Garden on board again this year," noted Kivirist.

Inn Serendipity recently expanded to include Inn Serendipity Woods, a 30-acre private wildlife sanctuary and rural cabin retreat. Inn Serendipity Woods is located in Vernon County, seven minutes southwest of Hillsboro, Wisconsin.

"We offer a cabin that can house up to eight people," Ivanko said. "It's a great place to reflect and contemplate, not to mention canoe, bike, fish and ride horses in the area."

On the Web, Inn Serendipity is located at Serendipity is located at 7843 County Road P, Browntown Wisconsin.For more information or to make a reservation at either the B&B or Inn Serendipity Woods, call 608-329-7056, or email

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